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syringe feeding

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
We are needing to syringe feed our cat every 2 hours.. basically until she starts eating on her own. We are giving her very watered down canned food, its basically brown water! She *hates* to be force fed and its hard to say how much is even getting in her When she sees the syringe coming she starts drooling a lot and so much of it ends up on the towel, my shirt, her face.. I wrap her up in a towel and scruff her and basically try to just get it down as fast as possible (well, slowly enough to give her time to swallow) Any tips to make this easier and maximize the amount that she actually swallows? I'm terrified of dehydration! She's been getting some sub q fluids as well but we're horrid at doing that and only seem to be able to get half as much in as we're supposed to. She hasn't eaten voluntarily in about a week.. But, she has seemed to improve because she has only thrown up twice since we brought her home from the vet saturday afternoon, as opposed to several times a day the last week.
post #2 of 13
Sorry to hear about your didn't mention what the initial problem was or her age but...
for adults, we try a combo of baby food (beech nut preferred -- high in protein) veal or beef mixed with food and some KMR (kitten milk replacer) which is high in nutrients & caloric -- sometimes it is easier to purchase a baby spoon & feed with the adults
for little ones, we use mostly KMR mixed w/baby food warmed up, using a syringe on the side of the mouth only -- you don't want the kitten/cat to aspirate

Good luck...not easy getting a cat/kitten to eat that won't.
post #3 of 13
So sorry to hear about your baby! I had to force feed my Siamese when he was sick. He just stopped eating and developed a fatty liver syndrome which ended in him having to be PTS. It was very stressful feeding him. I talked to him and pet him, brushed him in the bathroom (this is where I fed him) before doing the syringe feeding. I put him in between my legs as I kneeled over him. I used watered - down canned food, but not too water....kike pudding. I put the syringe in the side of his mouth and did it a little at a time. It is a messy job. What is wrong with your kitty? Why did she stop eating? Good luck, as long as she is improving, don't give up. Is she drinking water on her own?
post #4 of 13
Thread Starter 
She's about 10 months old. This is the second recurrence of her little "problem" and we think its triggered by stress. (I just had a baby, and the first time it happened while we were on vacation) the vet suspects pancreatis (sp?) or inflammatory bowel disease. Both are extremely hard to diagnose for sure, so its sort of guessing! We've been using the food the vet provided, and I sort of wonder if we'd get less of a battle with something else. It seems like vile stuff! lol (well to a human, all pet food seems nasty) we have to put it in the blender with water, and there's these rubbery chunks that don't blend and clog the syringe if we're not careful..YUCK!

I think she really *wants* to eat but just doesn't feel well enough to bring herself to do it, poor baby. This morning my husband saw her sitting at the water dish staring at it, and a little bit ago she meowed at my feet while I was in the kitchen (when healthy, she does this when she wants some canned food) so I put a tiny spoonful of tuna on a plate. She stared at it, sniffed it, and I think she really wanted it but she won't eat.
post #5 of 13
Thread Starter 
update.. just gave her her 2:00 feeding, and decided to try something new. Instead of the normal food, I gave her some "tuna water"...something the vet said to offer earlier but hasnt mentioned since. Probably not the best stuff for her but the point is.. SHE SWALLOWED! She struggled for the first little squirt until she tasted it then she very compliantly accepted the whole syringe. I'm thrilled. She doesnt even accept plain water that willingly so thats huge! I think she really just might not like the food the vet provided. I'm going to ask about switching to something else she might like better.
post #6 of 13
You should really try the baby food that was mentioned. Cats love baby food. It would be healthier than the tuna.
post #7 of 13
I'd try the baby food blended up with some of the tuna water. I got lucky when I had to force feed Jake. After 2 or 3 times he just accepted it. If you can't get her to eat with that I would ask the vet about tube feedings. They can insert a tube and teach you how to feed her.
post #8 of 13
Originally Posted by Barblynnp View Post
You should really try the baby food that was mentioned. Cats love baby food. It would be healthier than the tuna.
I agree with trying a different food. I wouldn't want someone force-feeding me brussel sprouts! Yuck!
post #9 of 13
Hi, unless it's contraindicated by whatever your vet feels is causing this, I don't understand why they don't just recommend/sell you some Hills A/D - it has a pudding like consistency and is fairly easy to syringe feed.
It is a high calorie food meant for short-term (I believe up to 3 weeks...your vet would know) use post-op, post-illness.

If this, for some reason, isn't an option...get any of the finely ground cat foods to blenderize. I feed my oldest cat Tyler, and since he has crf, use a lower protein, lower phos food (not the best grade of food but his coat is shiney and it is working well for him) I'm using Friskies Special Diet Turkey and Giblets.

There are many ground/pate consistency cat foods out there...I just blend it up without any added water, use a 12 cc syringe with the tip cut off, and I feed up to 48 cc at a meal (but he is used to being fed completely by me, we worked up to this)...your vet could advise you as the amount you need to feed per day to maintain your cats weight.

Please ask them about the a/d, I really think it would do well for you.
post #10 of 13
Have you tried finger feeding? Sometimes putting a little food on your finger or a spoon can coax them into eating it. I found that if I touched a little bit of the food to Willow's nose, she would lick it off her nose and then lick it off my finger.
post #11 of 13
The best thing my vet told me was to get a 60cc syringe... I got a 35 cc and it was great I didnt have to water down the baby food I was feeding... A/D is a GREAT thing ask the vet
post #12 of 13
Someone mentioned warming the food a little, and I wanted to reiterate that. Warming makes it smellier, which makes it more enticing to the kitty.

I also want to second the recommendation of KMR -- great stuff! It has helped a lot of our tiny foster kittens recover and start to thrive. Good luck!
post #13 of 13
Like Pat & Alix, I too recommend A/D (available only from vets) and I don't know why that wasn't the first food your vet suggested. (The stuff your vet has you using doesn't seem to make any sense for syringe feeding.) A/D is very palatable, most cats love it. I've been syringe feeding my baby for over a year, and that's one of the foods I use. Another one to ask for is (Eukanuba) Max Cal, also made for syringe feeding. I was reluctant to use Max Cal at first because I don't like some of the ingredients, but it really worked for my girl. It contains far more calories than A/D. It's also available only from a vet. But do start using another food ASAP - your poor kitty is stressed to begin with and awful tasting food will do nothing to encourage her to eat.

Please take a look at this website:

It will be a great help to you - you can post questions, read members' stories of how they assist-feed and get lots of valuable info from people who are doing syringe feeding with their cats. It also covers tube feeding, which another member has mentioned. If you really can't get enough food into your kitty via syringe, tube feeding can save her life.

Please have your vet or a vet tech give you a refresher course on hydration.
It's so important for your cat to get the amount of fluid she needs, so keep up with it. If you don't already do so, make sure to warm the fluid before giving it - it will feel so much better for your cat. Like you, I was lousy at giving fluids in the beginning, but I knew it was crucial for my cat, so I had a vet tech come over to my house a few times to coach me til I felt comfortable with the procedure. Don't give up - you'll get it, too!

Lots of good wishes to you and your little kitty - please let us know how she's doing.
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